Writing Under A Pen Name

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of having an impromptu interview with Carrie Rubin about her usage of a pen name for her cozy mystery The Cruise Ship Lost My Daughter.

Carrie isn’t alone in using a pen name. In fact, she is in good company. Can you identify the well-known writers who wrote under these pen names? (answers are at the end of the post – no cheating!).

Robert Galbraith

Richard Bachman

Dan Kavanagh

Benjamin Black

Mary Westmacott

Claire Morgan

Back to Carrie and her pen name. Here are some questions which Carrie so graciously accepted to answer.

What made you write this book under another name?   

I decided to use a pen name for the cozy mystery because it’s a different genre than what I normally write. Readers develop expectations from a writer in terms of style and plot elements, and using different names for different genres can be helpful to avoid steering a reader down the wrong path. For example, while someone might enjoy the light and clean style of my cozy mystery, they might be put off by one of my thrillers, which tend to be dark and sometimes contain violence and profanity. So, I thought it made sense to differentiate the two genres by using different names.

Has this led to any confusion or marketing difficulties? 

Marketing is always difficult and definitely not my strong suit, but I think it’s actually made it easier in the sense that my website still presents me as a writer of genre-bending medical thrillers. If I add a humorous cozy mystery to my banner of books, it might be an odd contrast. That being said, my various profiles across the internet (e.g., on Amazon, on Goodreads, on my website) mention that I also have a cozy mystery written under a pen name, and Morgan Mayer’s profile mentions she also writes thrillers under my name, so hopefully any interested readers will find their way from one author name to the other.

Are you planning to write other books under Morgan Mayer? 

I’d love to, but I’m not sure how soon because it’ll depend on what happens on the traditional publishing front. Although my agent was wonderfully accommodating and accepted my desire to go indie with The Cruise Ship Lost My Daughter (much quicker path to publication than the traditional route), she currently has one of my unpublished manuscripts on submission and she’ll put another one on submission soon, so if they get deals, I’ll be busy with that for a while. Plus, I’m currently working on the third book in my Benjamin Oris thriller series. But if I get some downtime in between, it would be a lot of fun to write another cozy mystery!

What are advantages to writing under two names?

Aside from what I mentioned above, writing under different names gives an author a chance to experiment a bit. Allows them to write something they haven’t before without clouding the image of their usual line of work.

Here’s what to do if you’re thinking of using a pen name?

Here are the answers to the famous authors pen names.

JK Rowling – Robert Galbraith

Stephen King – Richard Bachman

Julian Barnes – Dan Kavanagh

Agatha Christie – Mary Westmacott

Patricia Highsmith – Claire Morgan

Paperback Writer

Finally, I have my e-books into paperback and it was a frustrating journey. First, the technical designer I hired didn’t work out after three months of back and forth with her. Then, the second technical consultant wasn’t able to put two of my e-books into paperback either because the one of the original e-book cover no longer existed or the owner of the other e-book was asking an exorbitant amount of money to use it. Then, there was the problem of Kindle’s size requirements, which luckily my technical consultant was able to deal with.

In the end, I ended up having to choose different covers for two of my paperbacks. So, three months later, here are my paperback novels.

About the Getting to Mr. Right Series

The series starts off by focusing on Campbell Jones –an award-winning relationship-therapist at the peak of her career. Friendship and support shared between the characters of Campbell’s focus group evolves as the novel progresses.

The underlying theme throughout the original Getting to Mr. Right and the four novellas which follow is “being true to oneself.” The novellas are all expansions of the main story – dating adventures for Missi, a café for Suzy, dealing with an uprooted life for Felicity and an unexpected pregnancy on the edge of mid-life for Campbell. The series has gone beyond the original premise of “Getting a man” and in true women’s fiction style, deals with the issues that come after “happily ever after.” Although all these women are now in romantic relationships, it’s more the by-product of living their lives fully than a pursuit for finding a partner.

Click on the book titles to order

Book 1: Getting to Mr. Right

Campbell’s research into the father/daughter dynamic and how it affects a woman’s personal choices proves that Prince Charming is nothing but a myth. In a few months, she will receive international recognition for her work.As part of her study, Campbell gives workshops to help women still seeking Mr. Right. Her latest group is made up of three women: Missi Morgan, who can’t seem to let go of a philandering spouse; Suzy Paradise, a self-proclaimed queen of online dating; and Felicity Starr, whose life and career are dictated by a controlling father.In the midst of her study, a charming and personable man enters Campbell’s life, putting her theories in shambles. Not only does she now question the validity of her research, but she must choose between her career and having her own Prince Charming. This personal dilemma makes it difficult for Campbell to give these women advice, as she encourages them to find their own paths to happiness and helps them set themselves free.

Book 2: Missi’s Dating Adventures

Missi Morgan is your everyday middle-aged woman who is suddenly thrust into an online dating world after years of married bliss. After learning to let go of Max, her husband who dumped her, Missi explores the world of online dating. Through one disastrous date after another, Missi learns lessons that help her discover what she truly wants. She may not find the perfect match but she finds the perfect self.

A romantic comedy for anybody having to tackle online dating and letting go.

Book 3: Not By Design

Ever since she first appeared in Getting To Mr. Right, Felicity Starr has been struggling to find her own kind of contentment. Now, at thirty-five and living in Rome, Felicity is about to break into the world of fashion design, and caught in a flurry of plans for her wedding when calamity strikes. Her father’s sudden death brings into question the whole meaning of success. Then Marco, the man she’s about to marry, leaves her when he learns of her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. Forced to return to Montreal, Felicity finds her life thrust into unexpected turns. As she confronts the on-going challenges presented by her disease, she gains the strength to let go of old beliefs and face her inner truths. Love, friendship and rewarding work come in different forms and Felicity finds it all in ways she never imagined – in a life that’s not by design.

Book 4: Cafe Paradise

Most of Suzy Paradise’s dreams died along with her son over twenty years ago.
One thing has re-ignited her passion for living – running her own café, which specializes in home-baked donuts. For Suzy, this is a long-cherished dream come true. Her business is starting to flounder when Donuts-A-Million, a giant chain, opens across the street from her. Her unexpected attraction to Coen Walsh, a regular customer at her café, creates more tension when she learns of his affiliation with her competitor.
Café Paradise is about Suzy’s fight to save her business in spite of the odds. Sometimes, she realizes, dreams have an expiration date and it takes just as much courage to let them go.
Along the way, she must re-define the meaning of work, family and romance so she can find her own formula for happiness.

Book 5: The Longest Nine Months

In Getting to Mr. Right, Campbell debunked the Prince Charming myth, only to meet a special man who turned all her assumptions upside down.
Now she’s married to Chand. But Happily-Ever-After turns out to be another illusion.
Campbell deals with job burnout and struggles to find her place in the world. An unexpected pregnancy and its complications undermine her relationship with Chand and take her to a difficult crossroad. No matter which way she decides to go, nothing will ever be the same!

OTHER BOOKS

Warning Signs

A psychological crime novel about obsession. Eugene’s research into his criminal mind is not about the why, but how to prevent his horrific crimes. Angie, a young woman starving for passion sees Eugene as her savior from a lonely life of caring for her heroin addicted mother. How far is she willing to go in order to save her relationship with Eugene and his promise for a future together? Detective Van Ray is on a vindictive mission as he attempts to solve the murders of young girls in Youth Protection. Their lives collide in a mixture of mistrust, obsession and ignoring the warning signs. A psychological crime novel about human frailty and loneliness.

Mourning Has Broken – A Memoir on Grief

Mourning Has Broken offers a moving and poignant look at grief and loss. In this collection of narrative non-fiction essays, the author speaks from the heart not only about the death of a dear sister but also about the mourning of a mother, a father, a dear friend, a career and a religion. Readers who have known loss will find much to relate to in this book, and will particularly appreciate the author’s ability to be frank and open and at times humorous about feelings that might be difficult to acknowledge.

Jill Weatherholt: A Mother for His Twins

 

a-mother-for-his-twins

 

I love a good romance and in her latest novel Jill Weatherholt delivers. The romantic partners in question are Joy (appropriately named) and Nick who were once high school sweethearts.

The author sets her story fourteen years later, though this time, in a professional setting. Joy and Nick are both vying for the position as principal of a mountain community school. Joy has had her heart and future set on that position, hoping “to fulfill her dream of following in her father’s footsteps,” while becoming principal is why Nick came back to this town in the first place.

After suddenly leaving Joy cold, Nick returns to town as a widower with his twin boys and a ton of guilt on his shoulders. It was truly refreshing to read of a male character who is in touch with his emotions and questions his parental role as much as his professional one.

As for Joy, I found that the author captured well what it is like to come home to the emptiness of a house, to cook just for one, to long for the security of a family and to acknowledge that  “… there was no such thing as a happy ending.”

The author skillfully reveals what happened during that fourteen year separation as she goes back and forth from past secrets to present scars: “both carried shameful secrets from their past that they were unable to escape.”

What makes A Mother for His Twins stand out is the depth of the characters dealing with contemporary issues. Think of the Me Too Mouvement, sibling jealousy and past wounds that have been shoved under the carpet.

The author has a knack of keeping the reader hooked. This is an engaging and enjoyable novel and I loved the unexpected ending.

A love story to warm the heart.

For more on Jill Weatherholt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Kelland Perry: Calmer Girls

In well crafted sentences Jennifer Kelland Perry traces the journey of sixteen year old Samantha Cross and her family through their different struggles: sister rivalry, parents’ divorce, moving to a new place, teen pregnancy, mother’s drinking, money worries, Alzheimer’s and death. Whew!

Jennifer Perry Amazon

Although the plot of Calmer Girls is far more dramatic than my adolescence ever was, I was filled with nostalgic moments as I found myself reminiscing about my own adolescence with its taste of first love and the confusion of young adult friendships.

The Coming-of-Age story takes place in St John’s, Newfoundland, a city and province I have always wanted to visit and, thus, appreciated the author’s descriptions of St John’s and what it was like growing up there in the 90’s.

 

II found the characters interesting and the author did a good job of portraying their faults along with the family’s dynamics. Although it is categorized as a YA novel, I thought the mother in the story added a domestic reality as she coped with being a mother to two teenage girls while in the midst of a separation and having to relocate to a new city. My interest was sustained until the end. Jennifer Perry makes us care about these broken characters.

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Shop in Fripperies?

Fripperie

source

It’s interesting how the meaning of frippery has evolved from cast-off clothes to an elegant garment.

Definition of FRIPPERY (Merriam-Webster)
plural fripperies

1 obsolete
a : cast-off clothes
b archaic : a place where old clothes are sold
2 a : FINERY; also : an elegant or showy garment
b : something showy, frivolous, or nonessential
c : OSTENTATION; especially : something foolish or affectedly elegant

“To take my mind off Chand’s awful words, I google maternity clothing. I’ve never been a fashionista; one of the advantages of wearing a sari was not having to develop my own style. Still, I feel a twinge of guilt in abandoning it. I take a sip of coffee as I scroll down the screen and come upon a frippery that sells maternity clothes. It’s close to where Suzy lives and I feel like company.”  p. 9 in The Longest Nine months

 Available at Amazon

Do you shop in fripperies?

 

Marlie byAnneli Purchase

 In her attempts to escape a past filled with bad memories Marlie moves to Masset where she hopes to find a much better life.

ebook-marlie-smaller-w300-o

 

But hope is not always enough and other problems, some more serious than those she fled from, are tossed her way.

 Anneli Purchase is very talented in writing about unforgettable settings. In reading Marlie I felt that I was visiting this fishing village alongside Marlie witnessing its rich aboriginal culture and beauty.

Masset is a small fishing village located on Graham Island – the largest of the more than 150 islands that comprise the archipelago of Haida Gwaii on the north coast of British Columbia in Canada.

Here, Marlie encounters harsh climate and living conditions that would make almost anyone hop on the next plane. In spite of the obstacles she encounters, she has many reasons to want to stay: her devotion towards her students caught in a web of poverty and neglect; the island’s pristine, untouched beauty which the author so fluidly and exquisitely describes; a man named Brent.

Anneli Purchase is a talented story-teller. Although the novel has a very strong setting, one which could stand on its own as a travel novel, it is also about a crime which the author handles with great skill and sensitivity. And it is a lovely romance. 

 

Two Romances

I recently read two very different romance novels in which the authors couldn’t be further apart.  Sisters and Rivals was written by an Australian writer while Second Chance Romance was written by an American Southern writer.

Second Chance Romance is Jill Weatherholt’s debut novel while Sisters and Rivals  is one of thirty or so books published by Margaret Lynette Sharp.

Yet, they have in common their ability to create characters which draw you in, whether they are sweet and kind or selfish and sneaky.

Sisters and Rivals by [Sharp, Margaret Lynette]

It’s the mid nineteen fifties, and the nascent romance of two young Sydneysiders is about to be challenged. The heroine, Linda, is being courted by an ambitious young carpenter named Harry. Seemingly without effort, he passes the scrutiny of her parents and they encourage her alliance with him.

Trouble brews, though, when her sister Tessa lays eyes on him and, despite her engagement to a young accountant, makes her feelings abundantly clear. Will Tessa’s overtures ruin the fledgling love between Harry and Linda?

My Take

Ah, to be young and in love and having to face the heartbreak of betrayal. Anyone who has experienced betrayal will surely find comfort in reading this book.

The setting takes place in fifties Australia but it could easily have been in Canada or the US for its accent on the values and day to day universal details of an era absent of internet or cellphones and sex was well…perhaps more chaste then.

I found the book to be suspenseful enough to keep me reading and found the fifties era to be wonderfully portrayed.

Visit Margaret’s author page here.

 

 

Second Chance Romance

Jackson Daughtry’s jobs as a paramedic and part-owner of a local café keep him busy—but the single dad’s number one priority is raising his little girl with love and small-town values. And when his business partner’s hotshot lawyer niece comes to town planning to disrupt their lives by moving her aunt away, Jackson has to set Melanie Harper straight. When circumstances force them to work side by side in the coffee shop, Jackson slowly discovers what put the sadness in Melanie’s pretty brown eyes. Now it’ll take all his faith—and a hopeful five-year-old—to show the city gal that she’s already home.

 

My Take

Second Chance Romance is one of these feel good books which gives us hope in the goodness of humankind.  An inspiring book for anyone embarking on a relationship with someone who has small children. The relationship between the adorable five year old and her father’s girlfriend is worth paying attention to. 

It was refreshing to read a book where the characters are sweet, honest, good people. Also refreshing that they were middle-aged.

The book warmed my heart with its tenderness and honest abiding characters and its warm and friendly rural setting. 

Definitely a pick me up book.

Visit Jill’s author page here.

 

 

The Longest Nine Months Update

 Dear Fellow Bloggers,

This is simply to let you know that some updates have been made on The Longest Nine Months and, if it hasn’t already been updated for you, you can download the update through your “Manage Your Content and Devices” page.

To receive updates to your eBooks automatically:

  1. Turn on the Annotations Backup* for your Kindle device or Kindle reading app. This will sync your notes, highlights, eBookmarks, and furthest page read

  2. Go to the Manage Your Content and Devices page

  3. Select “Automatic Book Update” under the Settings tab

  4. Select “On” from the dropdown menu

Thanks for reading my work.

 

the longest nine months 2

 

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00QYYX008

FREE BOOK PROMOTION

This coming weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada.

There is lots that I am thankful for. The list is long and includes you, dear online friends.

Thanks for your inspiring posts, your amazing photos and art work. Your wisdom, your spirit and your support. Thanks for sharing part of your life with me. 🙂

 

The Longest Nine Months.jpg oct. 2017

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00QYYX008

If you’re downloading to an IPad You cannot purchase content through the Kindle app due to Apple Store restrictions; you’ll need to use Amazon’s website instead and scroll down to Part 3: Purchasing New Kindle Content on Your iPad. keep reading.  

This promotion is good from October 6, 2017 to October 10, 2017. Don’t miss this free book offer!

I’d love your thoughts on it!

Thanks